Latest incident could reignite Red Sox-Rockies talks
Posted: Friday February 23, 2007 11:49AM; Updated: Sunday February 25, 2007 3:04PM
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Manny is being Manny again. And you have to wonder once again how much more the Red Sox can take.
Boston officials are -- for now -- accepting the word of Ramirez's agent that the mercurial Manny Ramirez is not skipping camp to trade classic cars but rather to aid his mother Onelcida, who recently had surgery. And they're accepting further word that he will indeed be in camp on March 1, only two days late, as originally promised.
But what if this latest incident sparks another round of Ramirez trade talks?
At Ramirez's behest, the Red Sox talked about trading Ramirez to at least five teams this winter -- the Rockies, Dodgers, Angels, Giants and Mariners -- and a couple of those teams surely are keeping an eye on the latest craziness involving perhaps the greatest right-handed hitter in the game. The most intriguing of those clubs might be the Rockies, who twice this winter engaged in trades talks with Boston regarding Todd Helton. Once they involved Ramirez, and once they didn't.
While the Rockies and Red Sox failed to meet Helton's own deadline to make a deal, some people in baseball believe there's a chance talks involving Helton could be resurrected. One reason for that is the belief that Helton, who like Ramirez has veto powers over trades, still would like to go to the Red Sox. (Before setting the deadline, he gave the OK for the Rockies to seek a trade to Boston.)
The second time the teams talked about Helton, the discussions broke down over the Rockies' request that the Red Sox include a top prospect such as Craig Hansen or Manny Delcarmen, something Boston people are loathe to do. But the first time they spoke, the talks centered around a swap of the stars, Helton for Ramirez, in a multiplayer deal. Ramirez gave the Red Sox a list of teams to which he would approve a trade, and it's believed Colorado is one he'd accept. It's a longshot to think anything major could get done anytime soon. But at some point you have to wonder whether Boston might have a breaking point over Manny's antics.
It got out this week that Ramirez was scheduled to attend the Atlantic City Classic Car auction -- the Boston Globe first reported that there were ads on Philadelphia radio stations trumpeting his appearance -- and not really just attending to his recuperating mother. But Ramirez's mouthpiece Greg Genske on Thursday assured Red Sox higher-ups that while Ramirez is still staying away until March 1, he would not be attending the auction, which reportedly features for sale his 1967 four-door Lincoln Continental sedan convertible. Two Red Sox people say that there is "no panic'' on the team's part regarding this latest soap opera, at least not until March 1.
Previously, he's made it known the reason he'd like out of Boston is the fishbowl existence stars endure there, so presumably Colorado is a place Ramirez would like better. And while Boston rebuffed the idea originally, Red Sox executives see Helton's swing as a nice fit for Fenway Park. They also may note that Helton isn't nearly as high maintenance.
Originally, the Red Sox were hesitant to talk about a trade that centered on Ramirez and Helton, and the sides struggled with a difference in dollars, anyway. The disagreement revolved around how much money Colorado would have to send to Boston to allay the last three years of Helton's contract, which has $90.1 million and five years remaining in total, including $56.9 million over the last three years ($16.6 million in '09 and '10, $19.1 million in '11 and a $4.6 million buyout for '12). While the two salaries could match up over the next two years (Ramirez's $19 million pay and Helton's $16.6 million take-home), Boston probably would want Colorado to pay almost half that extra $56.9 million.
The teams could resurrect the trade minus Ramirez, as well, but in either case the Red Sox have some concerns about a gastrointestinal issue that sidelined Helton last year and first would want to examine him to make sure it isn't a chronic problem. Of course, if the Red Sox hold onto Ramirez, they could have their own sort of stomach problems.
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